Sunday, January 31, 2010

Month End Money Recap

It's the last day of January which means it's the first chance I get to see how I'm doing on my new year's resolutions. Remember those? Did you make any? Have you already broken them? I have a little bit :) It's true - I'm human but I will try better in February.

Here they are:

1. Spend $100 or less in groceries each week. This I did. My final total expenditure on everything grocery related including diapers was $411.12. My total savings was $778.25 and I earned back $97 in extra care bucks and register Catalinas. It was a challenge but I certainly enjoyed keeping track of every penny saved and earned.

2. Pay down debt and keep from accruing new debt. For the most part we did this other than a few minor charges that will be paid off by March 1st. We'll be making some adjustments for February to do better.

3. Budget, budget, budget. Yes! We did this. We laid out a budget for each month and are sticking to it. Just as #2 we'll be making adjustments for February to do even better and save more money. I did keep exact notes of every penny we spent and earned.

4. Make a price point book. Haven't done this yet but I am still planning to. However, having a general idea I did shop at other stores to stock up on the best deals.

5. Get rid of stuff! We donated a good four or five bags of clothes and about 2 boxes of books. I also mailed out about 10 books for credit at PaperBackSwap - haven't ordered anything from them but I now have earned the ability to get 10 free books - not a bad deal and books I no longer need are out of my house.

6. Organize! Check out the picture - that's the girls while we're organizing Kaitlyn's room. This weekend we had some snow so we tackled all three kids rooms cleaning off their floors and throwing plenty away - we still have all the kids toys to organize and that's my biggest task for February. I have a March 5th deadline because of my moms of multiples yard sale so I have to get moving!

7. Make extra money. Didn't do as well on this one. I did receive a $10 rebate check from Kraft foods that I submitted last month. I'm expecting another $27.50 in the coming weeks so I guess that's something :) This month I'll be listing more on eBay - it's time to sell those spring clothes!

8. Still buying good kids clothes. Yep! Used my Gymbucks earlier this month to get $500 worth of kids clothes for $250 - a great start for the kids summer wardrobe. Though I will say for summer I won't buy nearly as many clothes because the kids play so much outside and get dirty that I have no desire to waste good clothes.

For February I plan to stick with these goals and refine them as I go. Still hoping to spend less than $400 instead of more than but I did enjoy some of the store hopping :) Call me weird but I like it. Though for this coming week my grocery budget will be $40 - we'll see how I do!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Stretching A Buck At CVS

I know, you're thinking I've already gone over budget for the month how could I possibly have even a dollar to spend at CVS? Well, I didn't. Turns out I only needed $0.66 - and that I had lying around in the change jar.

Here's what I got:

And yes, you read correctly I spent $0.66! How'd I do it? I took advantage of some coupons I received from CVS and a gift card because of a transferred prescription.

- I used a $4.00 off $20.00 coupon that I got in the mail
- A $10 ECB that I had from the Pepsi deal
- And a $25 gift card from transferring my thyroid medication to CVS

I tried to get the most out of the gift card as I possibly could by purchasing items that would give me extra care bucks back. I was able to do the pepsi deal again though this time I bought some chips instead of all soda!

I was also finally able to pick up the Oust sanitizing spray which has been a great ECB earner all month. Price is $3.99 and you get $3 ECB's back - if you use a B1G1 coupon from S 1/03 then you get 2 for $3.99 and earn back $6 ECB's! Can't go wrong there.

With a few other deals I was able to save $26.86 and earn $19 ECB's back making my gift card last that much longer.

You may not have a gift card but there are certainly ways to make every dollar count and stretching every dollar especially at the end of the month when money is low. Do you have any ways that you make your money go further?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Grocery Game & Southern Savers Part 2

I have to admit that when I first found Southern Savers my thought was, "How in the world am I going to keep track of this?"

I liked Grocery Game because it did all of the work for me. I made my list on Friday, pulled the coupons I needed, and moved on. I loved that I never had to really choose and clip coupons. Each week that the Sunday circular came, I filed it away in it's own folder. I would come back and clip only what I needed based on the GG List. I'd put the list and the coupons in a small envelope and head to the store. Here's what it looked like:

I was tempted to add other stores to my list but as a very busy mom of three toddlers, there just wasn't time for me to shop multiple stores. Also, my favorite store, Target, is not currently on the Grocery Game List.

Then I discovered Southern Savers. I love it because it lists the Target Deals each week. The coupon matchups are easy to read and the Internet coupon links are so helpful! But then, I felt compelled to clip random coupons and print extra Internet coupons. I slowly ended up with a drawer that looked like this:

What's the point of having coupons if you can't find them quickly and efficiently? Not to mention, I can't tell you how many times I've been in the store, seen a great deal and knew that I had a coupon for it at home. But because it wasn't on the grocery list, I didn't have it with me.

Then I found THIS. I knew when I saw these photos, that I was finally going to become "that" lady at the grocery store toting around a million coupons.

So, today I ran to Office Depot and picked up a 3 ring binder, dividers and plastic pages. I spent less than $10 and I'm very excited to start putting it all together. The only mistake I've made so far, is that I purchased business card plastic pages and they are just not wide enough for coupons. So, I just snagged a package of super cheap 9 pocket baseball card protector sheets off of Ebay. They should do the trick. Doesn't this look great?!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Grocery Game and Southern Savers

For a month I've shopped with both and I've come up with a list of pros and cons for each which I'm hoping you will find helpful as you figure out what helps your coupon clip. I know starting couponing can often be so overwhelming and it takes a while to figure out what everything means. But fortunately there are tons of services and people out there who are willing to help you save money.

Using both Southern Savers and the Grocery Game this is what I picked up this week:

(Not pictured: 4 gallons of milk; 2 boxes of Toaster Strudels)

I spent: $51.98
And saved: $51.60

The deals weren't that great this week (except for the yogurt since it was part of the Kraft buy 15 get $5.00 back deal which meant each pack was $0.87 and we go through yogurt like crazy around here!) so I only saved about 50%. I needed "a lot" of items for meals for this week so it was more of a needs run than a sales run.

I'd say for this week both lists led me to pretty much the same deals.

But here are my thoughts on each "service":

Southern Savers:

Pros: FREE; up early; printable list; coupon match-ups including printables to coupons not in the paper; great information about rebates; really good resource for coupons

Cons: it's sometimes hard to tell if items are a good price that's worth stocking up on - yes, if it's free then it's pretty easy but I often need some extra help figuring out the final price and the final price of items isn't always listed; because it's a blog there are lots of different things posted - while it is easy to find the store I'm looking for the site has plenty of distractions; the site isn't local - meaning match-ups aren't based in VA and Harris Teeter is actually the only local grocery store listed (CVS and Target are nationwide - I'm talking about actual grocery stores).

The Grocery Game

Pros: very easy to use; list is very easy to read as is printing; site is specific for its intentions and there are no distractions; stores are local and more specific options locally - more than just Harris Teeter; list makes it easy to know what is free, what to stock up on and what's on sale if you need it but not at the greatest price; lists original price, sale price, coupon match-up, final price after both and percentage saved; very extensive list of sales - more than any other list I have come across thus far including SS

Cons: cost - the fact that you have to pay for each store makes it cost prohibitive to get more than one or two stores; not up until Friday at noon - which is better than it was but still means you miss 2 1/2 days of shopping and may find the store empty of the best deals; doesn't match-up printables for the most part

My simple assessment is use both :) If you must choose and find the cost acceptable I would still go with the Grocery Game for ease of use, extensiveness of the list and the fact that she uses a 12-week stock-up rule making it easy to know when the sales are at their best. However, there's no downside to checking Southern Savers since it's free so you can bet I'll be checking in weekly!

Next month I will use the Coupon Mom and the Grocery Game (I'm sure I'll check Southern Savers tomorrow too but I'm out of shopping money for the month!)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Menu Planning Monday (1/25): Ground Beef Week

The past few weeks we only had chicken so this week I was determined to do something different! We headed to Wal-Mart expecting good deals on meat. I tell you the thing about Wal-Mart's low prices is just a joke. I got low grade meat for the same price I found higher grade meat at Safeway on sale this week. Maybe Wal-Mart would price match but to me that's just too much of a hassle!

Still, I got $20 of ground beef (about 10 pounds) - after seperating and freezing that will give me 9 meals since 1 meal takes 2 pounds. And since it's the end of the month that's exactly what I need. This week I have actually menu-planned all the way to next Sunday when the new month begins.

While I didn't stick to a cookbook this week, a lot of my recipes came from Kraft Food. I find Kraft Food to be invaluable when it comes to great recipes. It's an awesome website and the food is great!

They also have a magazine - it used to be free but now it's maybe $10 or so for the year - it's very worth it. Awesome recipes!

Monday: Mini Meat Loaves with green beans - HUGE family favorite because I use an icing decorator (Easy Accent Decorator from Pampered Chef) to make fun designs with the mashed potatoes - smiley faces, swirls, hearts - the kids love it and eat it up.

Tuesday: Shepherd's Pie - I make real mashed potatoes for the mini meat loaves and use the remainder to make shepherd's pie - so good that way.

Wednesday: Weeknight Lasagna Toss

Thursday: Layered Enchilada Bake (I'm sure you remember this one - we LOVE it so I make it often)

Friday: Easy Bake Pasta - the name says it all - easy.

Saturday: Pizza Joes - these make a ton - I know they're will be plenty of leftovers.

Sunday: Mini Taco Bowls

This is the plan - as you can tell that's a LOT of food and I still have 2 pounds of ground beef left when the new month starts. So, what will probably end up happening in reality is that we'll eat some of these meals this week and some of them next week. Not a bad thing since I'm hoping to really stretch my budget over the next few weeks!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stretching My Diaper Budget At Giant

It's the end of the month. Oh, it isn't for you? Well, it is for me! I've used up my monthly budget of $400. Hard to believe I even spent that much but I did. Actually my total stands right now at $407.98 - fortunately that's after my Giant runs which included diapers and right now diapers are a seperate budget. Until this month we were spending at least $20 a week on diapers but now we are down to 2 in diapers which helps. I had bought a few boxes before January so I haven't had to purchase any more this month until now.

Sooo, it was a great excuse to head to Giant and check out their P&G sale/Catalina promotion (a Catalina is a coupon that prints out at the register for $ off your next purchase).

In 4 trips (2 each day in 2 days) here's what I got:

In total I spent: $54.51 (I also have another $10 off coupon so it brings me down to $44.51)
And saved: $73.05 (I used 4 $10.00 off coupons that printed - add the other $10 back and it's $83.05 in savings)

I am debating whether or not to go back for some paper towels. As it stands now probably not - I will use my other $10 to pick up milk or bread or butter that I'll need this week. $7.00 is far enough over budget! Of course, since it includes diapers (normally an $80/month line item) I am actually $72 under budget.

Transaction #1:

- 2 packs Jumbo Pampers Diapers $11.49 retail price
- sale price $10
- used 2 $2.00/off coupons from PG 12/27

- Tide HE Detergent $8.49 retail price
- sale price $5.00 (no coupon)

- spent $22.25
- saved $10.47
- earned $10 coupon back

Transaction #2:

- 1 Charmin toilet paper pack $15.49 retail price
- sale price $10
- used $1.00 off/1 coupon from Pampers pack I had

- 1 Pampers Pull-up pack $10.99 retail price
- sale price $10
- used 1 $2.00 off coupon from PG 12/27

- Herbal Essences Shampoo $3.99 retail price
- sale price $3.34 (shelf said $1.99 but I was at self check-out and decided not to argue over the $1.00 - no coupon used)

- spent: $11.01
- saved: $20.13
- earned: $10 coupon back

Transaction #3 (same as Transaction #1)

- spent: $11.75
- saved: $20.47
- earned: $10 coupon back

Transaction #4

- 2 Charmin Mega Packs $15.49 retail price
- sale price $10/each
- used $1.00/2 coupon from PG 12/27

- spent: $9.50
- saved: $21.98
- earned: $10 coupon back

Hopefully this will give you a few ideas as to how to try it yourself if you wish to. It's a great way to stock up on toilet paper and diapers if you need to! Thanks again to Moneywise Moms for the heads up!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Safeway Has Some Great Deals

I did say at the beginning of the year that I was going to keep an eye on other stores to see what promos were going on. I know there's one at Giant that I haven't gotten to yet - hopefully will this weekend since I need diapers - have 1 less in diapers these days but still, 2 in diapers costs me plenty.

This week I couldn't resist heading over to Safeway and picking up a few things we really needed.

Here's what I got:

I spent: $26.82
And saved: $47.59 (65%)

That's not bad for savings but $9.01 of my spending was the ground beef and $5.00 was the milk which means I spent just $12 on everything else! ($0.81 was tax) I got 15 boxes for $12 or $0.80 a box.

6 boxes of cereal
6 boxes of fruit snacks
3 boxes of oatmeal

All the products are part of their Buy 3, Save $3.00 sale.

The match-ups were a little tricky but mostly because it was a lot of printables.

I used 2 $1.00/1 Quaker oatmeals coupons from HERE. I printed it twice - maybe you can print it more - didn't try.

I used 1 $1.00/1 Honey Nut Cheerios coupon and 1 $1.00/2 coupons from HERE.

I used $1.00/3 General Mills cereal coupon from G 1/3 or

And I used 3 $0.50/2 coupon from - all 3 of them doubled. I should also have gotten a $3.50 Catalina off my next purchase according to MoneyWise Moms but mine didn't print or if it did the cashier was too distracted by my triplets that she didn't give it to me. I will have to call and find out if I qualifed.

Safeway's coupon policy does not limit the number of internet printables used as long as the scan properly at the register. Harris Teeter's official policy is that they will only allow 2 per order but I believe it's up to the store as to whether or not they enforce it because so far mine never has.

For more match-ups for Safeway this week head on over to Moneywise Moms - this is a great sale and very worth heading over to Safeway for!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Frugal Map

This is really cool - you have to check it out! This is a map of the country with links to all the coupon matching sites in each state. I don't believe it's 100% complete yet so if you know of another site please feel free to pass it on.

I know I rely on a number of blogs for the coupon match-up deals that I do. With 5 kids I just don't have the time to do it myself. When I share here it's to show you what I've found using what other people have suggested.

Check it out and find your perfect coupon match! Such a great idea - thanks Briana!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Awesome Budget Printable

In an effort to help me get more organized Kirk bought me an amazing planner for Christmas. He researched it and found a very nice one at MomAgenda. I have a calendar and a place for anniversery and birthday lists all in one cute binder.

But the really cool thing is all the printables that you can print off her site for free.

Go HERE for a great budget printable (PDF format)

And HERE for a number of other printouts such as spring cleaning lists and some goal charts.

Be sure to check out her site - for a low price you can get chore charts and grocery lists - all of which are easy to use. We ordered the chore chart and have begun using it for the older two kids to keep track of their chores and allowance. It's never too early to begin teaching your kids about money!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Menu Planning Monday 1/18: Pantry Challenge

I was hoping to go through another cookbook this week but some unexpected grocery expenses came up (medicinal stuff) so I am low on funds and for some reason, meat. This week I purchased $3.00 worth of chicken (I know, more chicken!) and my plan is to make meals using what I already have in the pantry. I may need an item or two from the store but I can't exceed $5.00 in spending since that's all the cash I have left :)

Here's what I came up with:

Monday: Chicken Pot Pie (need to purchase nothing)

Tuesday: Chicken Taco Bake (need to purchase black beans and Rotel $1.67)

Wednesday: White Bean Chicken Chili (need to purchase Great Northern Beans $0.67)

Thursday: Homemade Mac N Cheese (need to purchase nothing)

Friday: Birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese

Saturday: Spaghetti (need to purchase spaghetti noodles $1.00)

So it seems that I can feed our family for about $6.40 this week for dinner (including what I spent on the chicken) - talk about a budget saver!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Harris Teeter Twice

I took two trips to Harris Teeter this week. Once with Southern Savers and once with the Grocery Game.

Using Southern Savers on Wednesday:

(Not pictured: 1 gallon milk)

I spent: $28.50
And saved: $45.51 (I also earned $5.00 back from the Kraft cheese promotion)

Using the Grocery Game on Saturday:

(Not pictured: 3 gallons of milk)

I spent: $31.81
And saved: $47.98

Almost identical spending and savings. This week, for the most part, both places had the same deals - I just bought different deals on different days. And I needed a LOT of staples on my second trip. Believe it or not I was almost out of cereal!

Best deals:

Quaker Quakes Mini Rice Cakes
- retail price: $2.19/each
- sale price: 4/$5.00 ($1.25/each)
- used 8 $0.75/1 coupons from RP 1/10
- final price: FREE

Crystal Light Drink Mix/Nabisco 100 Calorie Packes (combo coupon)
- Crystal Light original price: $3.99/each
- sale price: buy 1 get 1 free
- used 4 $2.00 off Crystal Light and 100 Calorie Packs from S 1/3
- final price for Crystal Light: $1.00/each

- Nabisco original price: $3.35
- sale price: 2/$5.00
- used 4 coupons
- final price for Nabisco Packs: $1.50/each

Smart Balance Sour Cream
- original price: $1.79/each
- sale price: $0.99/each
- used 2 $1.00 off 1 coupons from RP 1/10
- final price: FREE

For more great deals check out Southern Savers and/or the Grocery Game. Next week I will share my thoughts on the pros and cons of each.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Awesome Pepsi Deal At CVS

Pepsi is on sale at CVS 6/$20.00 (1/16-1/23) and you will get $10 ECB's back making it 6/$10.00 - even better if you go HERE you can get a $7.50 mail-in rebate once you spend $20.00 on Pepsi products. You will have to skip down to page 4 to find the $7.50 deal - there are 3 others if you want to try and qualify for any of those. Be sure to check the states before you mail it in since not all states qualify. VA is one that does.

Since I had $13.50 in ECB's from previous weeks I only spent $6.94 tonight, got $10 in ECB's back and will mail the rebate in for another $7.50 off.

Thanks to Southern Savers for the Pepsi rebate link.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gymbucks Redemption Begins Today!

If you have been collecting Gymbucks over the past few months then check it out - Gymbucks redemption starts online today! You can't use them in the stores yet but you can go in and set items aside that you wish to purchase tomorrow.

Gymbucks cannot be combined with any other coupons other than your Gymboree Visa discount. You must spend $50 pre-tax before they will take the $25 Gymbucks off.

If you spend over $100 online you will get free shipping.

If you spend over $60 you will receive a coupon for 30% off your purchase when you buy between Feb. 5th and 7th.

Check it out - the new line is really cute! And the old lines are on sale so it's a great time to stock up on some much needed clothes for cheap.

Remember clothes shopping and grocery shopping are similar - buy on sale with a coupon and save big!!

And don't worry - I promise to leave plenty of clothes behind for everyone else.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

$0.50 Price Point

I was hoping for more like a $5 dollar challenge but I couldn't resist a few extra sales so I ended up spending: $14.53 borrowing $10 from next week's grocery budget. Considering what I got I'm not unhappy about it:

I saved: $66.52

With the exception of the cat food all items were $0.50 or less. The right bites were on sale 2/$5.00 and I had 9 $1.00 off 1 coupons that doubled to $2.00 off. Coupons were in this Sunday's paper.

That deal wasn't on any list but some of the other deals were on the updated Grocery Game list. A big advantage to the Grocery Game is that she puts out a complete list on Sunday mornings to include that weeks coupons and for this week it was sure worth it. I have already used quite a few coupons from Sunday's paper.

I highly recommend heading back at the end of a good sales week to see what's left and pick up rain checks where you can. They were out of tortillas (which would have been free with a coupon from this Sunday's paper) but I got a rain check for the sale price and with the coupon they will be $0.50 in future weeks so I'm okay with that.

Okay, I'm staying out of the grocery stores for a while - I swear!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 1/11

This week's cookbook is:

This is a favorite of mine that I picked up last year and have used a lot. This week's challenge: find chicken recipes that the family would eat! Since chicken was on sale last week it's the meat I had to make my menu for this week.

Monday - Cream Cheese Chicken with Broccoli (p. 128)

Tuesday - Easy Cheesy BBQ Chicken (p. 66)

Wednesday - Chicken Tortilla Soup (p. 104)

Thursday - Easy Parmesan Chicken (p. 142)

Friday - Having guests - they're bringing the food.

Saturday - Leftovers.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Target Deal & 2nd Trip to HT for Super Doubles

I love when I have a shopping trip that leaves me bursting at the seams with proud accomplishment!

Today I had a great trip to Target.
I spent: $17.57
I saved: $25.00

Here's what I got:
4 half gallons of Silk Soy Milk
1 box of Kellogg's fruit snacks
3 bags of Dunkin' Donuts Coffee
1 Clean & Clear face wash

For the very first time I purchased and used coupons from Ebay. 4 of the 5 people in my house drink Silk Soy Milk. I have to buy it every week and had never used coupons for it before. I scored 20 $2/off coupons on Ebay for $2.50 and used 4 of them today. So, I was able to spend .69 cents for each half gallon instead of $2.69!

I also took advantage of the buy 3 bags of DunkinDonuts coffee and get a $5 gift card. This is my favorite kind of coffee, so I consider it a splurge when I get to have it. has $1.00 off coupons for the coffee. Here's the rundown:

Regular Price $6.84
Sale Price $6.00
Price after Coupon $5.00/each

$5 each x 3 = $15
-$5 gift card

Final Price: $3.30 per bag

The Clean & Clear was on sale for $4 and I had a coupon for $2/off from

Later in the evening I headed off to Harris Teeter to use my daily limit of 20 coupons. :)

I spent: $60.11
I saved: $62.16

I love it when I save more than I spend!

Some of my favorite deals from HT:

Crisco Olive Oil
Regular Price: $7.15
Sale Price : $3.99

$1.50 Internet printable coupon (doubled to $3)

Final Price: $0.99

Olay Facial Cleanser:
Regular Price: $7.49
Sale Price: $4.94

$1.00 coupon from RP/SS (doubled to $2)

Final Price: $2.94

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Two Trips More

As of today my weekly budget is officially gone :) But I certainly stretched it a great deal! If it weren't for fresh produce, milk and meat I could live without the grocery store for a good month at this point. I may try that someday - as soon as I learn to tear myself away from the deals...

Okay, enough with the sad obsession. Because believe me when I spend half of my dinner out with other moms discussing coupons and the best prices AND can remember exactly what those prices are everywhere I can certainly say I'm a little obsessed.

I made a second trip Thursday night and even though I snapped a picture of what I got I managed to erase it before I could post. Oops! Shame too since I got a great deal on coffee creamer - 3 free after using internet coupons found HERE. Because some of the holiday creamer was on sale for $1.49 I was able to get those free by doubling my $1.50/2 coupon - the third free one came from doubling the $1.00/1 coupon.

Thursday's trip:

I spent: $27.28
And saved: $52.17

- I got the Special K bars promotion again and bought 5 things of Kraft cheese to get a $5.00 off my next purchase at the register.

Today's (Saturday) trip:

(Not pictured: 3 gallons of milk)

I spent: $52.18
And saved: $114.88

For this trip I used the Grocery Game to prepare and for this week I saw a lot of the same deals as Southern Savers with a few exceptions.

Best deals:

Electrasol Tabs
- regular price: $5.99/each
- sale price: buy 1 get 1 free: $2.99/each
- used 3 $2.50/1 coupons from S 1/3
- final price: $.049/each
(yes, I know they're free at Walgreens but only have a register reward which means I have to go back to use it and I haven't really begun shopping there so I'm not worrying about the $0.49 at HT)

Nyquil Tablets (Liquid on sale too)
- regular price: $5.79
- sale price: $3.99
- used 2 $1.50/1 coupons from PG 12/27
- final price: $0.99/each
- also used Buy 2 Vicks Products Get Puffs Free PG 12/27 - there was no maximum price on this so I think you can buy a bigger box then I did but I just bought the square box for $1.00 and got that FREE

Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids Containers
- regular price: $3.99/each
- sale price: $3.19/each
- used 3 $1.00/1 coupons from S 1/3
- final price: $1.19/each
- there were other containers - real small ones would be just $0.63 each but I preferred these because they're big enough to hold sandwiches and for around $1.00 I still felt it was a great price!

For lots more deals check out the Grocery Game.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My First Super Doubles Trip

This was my very first trip to HT during Super Doubles. I had to tote along one of the boys (which I really prefer not to do) but I still made out really well. Thank goodness HT gives out balloons and cookies to the little shoppers!

I spent: $23.17
I saved: $56.33

The only items I purchased without a coupon were the Little Debbie Honey Buns (they were on sale and are a very hot item in my house right now) and the 1/2 gallon of Orange Juice.

Some of my favorite deals:

Spider Man Vitamins
regularly: $7.79
sale price: $3.89
-$1 coupon/RP (doubled to $2)
Paid $1.89 for "character" vitamins (which my boys love)

Johnson & Johnson bath products (powder, shampoo, bath wash)
regularly: $4.25
sale price: $3.00
$1 coupon (R/P and Internet printable) (doubled to $2)
Paid $1 each

Baked Lays Potato Chips
regularly: $3.79
sale price: $3.50
$1 coupon/RP (doubled to $2)
Paid $1.50

Ore Ida Fries/Tater Tots
Regularly: $2.69
$1 coupon (Internet printable)
Paid: $.69 each

I SO Love Dollar Doublers!

Have you made your first trip yet? I have! Ran by this morning after dropping the big kids off at school. Yes, daddy went to work late so I could stop at the grocery store :)

Today I got:

I spent: $8.24
And saved: $41.49

The Honeycomb was combined with a rain check I got last week because they were out so today I got them 3/$5.00 and was able to double 2 $1.00/2 coupons to get each box for just $0.67. The juice was on clearance so I picked it up because I had enough cash :) I went in with just $10.00 left from this week's budget (after shopping last week and eating fast food on Sunday) so I could NOT go over that! And I managed to do it - it was a fun challenge :)

Free deals:

Ivory Soap
- regular price $1.45
- used 4 $1.00 off 1 coupons from PG 12/27
- final price: FREE (a note - the computer knows the cost of the items so the coupon was not fully doubled - it "multiplied" the coupon up an additional $0.45 to make the item free - I did not get any overage)

Special K Bars
- regular price $2.79/each
- sale price: $1.99/each
- used 2 $1.00/2 coupons from RP 1/3
- price after coupons: $0.99 each
- BUT you also get $5.00 off instantly when you buy 4 Special K products so ultimately they are FREE!

Lysol Wipes
- regular price $3.19/each
- sale price: 2/$4.00
- used 3 $1.00/1 coupons from SS 1/3
- final price: FREE

For other great deals check out Southern Savers.

And if you're wondering, the meal on Monday didn't go very well - I followed ALL the directions and something still went wrong so we used Tuesday's meal on Monday and Wednesday's meal yesterday so I had to buy a can of beans and Rotel for tonight's meal which was $2.10 of my total and maybe just a few cents in savings but really to change a meal for $2.00 is no big deal just wanted to let you know that I could have spent even less on all that I bought. I still think I got quite a bit for $8.00!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Drugstore Deals

I may be a crazy couponer but I do limit my outings to the store as much as possible. This keeps me from spending money I don't have and helps my sanity :) I actually hit CVS on Saturday before HT and swung my Walgreens Sunday afternoon to pick up a free item while I grabbed another copy of the Sunday paper.

On a normal week I wouldn't go back to the store till at least this Saturday BUT if you haven't already heard Harris Teeter will be doubling coupons up to $1.98 starting tomorrow! Oh, I am so excited :)

Be sure to check out Southern Savers for some early coupon match-ups (yes, she already has quite a few up there today!).

Here's what I got from CVS:

I spent: $12.00
And saved: $26.99
And earned: $13.50 in ECB's

Free this week:

GE Energy Smart Bulbs
- regular price: $5.99
- sale price: $2.99
- earns $2.00 ECB's
- used 1 $1.00/1 coupon from SS 1/3
- final price: FREE

For the Nivea deal see Southern Savers.

Free at Walgreens this week: Electrasol tabs 20 ct. - on sale for $3.49
- earns $1.00 Register Reward (RR)
- used $2.50/1 coupon from SS 1/3
- so FREE

Monday, January 4, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 1/4

I thought a fun way to find new recipes was to pull out cookbooks that I already have and each week pick out a few recipes that I can make for the week. After all, what is the point of having a cookbook if I don't use it. If I pick a cookbook where I can't find a recipe that I like that cookbook should just leave the house! How's that for an extra organizational step?

First up - a brand new cookbook that I got for Christmas. Wow! I think I have found an awesome cookbook. I first saw it at my sister-in-law's house during Thanksgiving and just flipping through it made me want it. So, what did I do? Asked my mom for it for Christmas, what else? :)

And yea, it was under the tree!

Last week I tried 2 turkey recipes from it and they were great: Turkey Tenderloin Supreme (p. 42) and Creamy Turkey on Mashed Potatoes (p. 34). On Christmas Day I made Cheddar Ham Soup (p. 124) - I had all the ingredients on hand and the soup was fabulous - I can't wait to make it again!

So for this week I had chicken which I purchased last week and came up with this meal plan:

Monday: Quicker Chicken n' Dumplings (p. 30)

Tuesday: Chicken Shepherd's Pie (p. 76)

Wednesday: Cheesy Wild Rice Soup (p. 40)

Thursday: Moms of Multiples monthly meeting

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Friends over - making Pork Roast

If you're looking for a cookbook full of easy recipes to make for dinner this is a great one! I'm really enjoying it and hope to pick up other Taste of Home cookbooks in the futre. To find this one go to Amazon.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First HT Trip Of The Year

I actually went last night. I was so excited to be able to make it out on a Saturday evening. Made my Sunday more free which was great. Not sure if I'll make it out every Saturday but it's a start :)

I used both the Grocery Game and Southern Savers. Using both was great. SS had a lot of printable coupons that GG didn't have.

(Not pictured: 3 gallons of milk; cat litter)

Using both resources I spent: $57.66
And saved: $55.42

Not quite 50% - losing my game already :)

Still that is all I spent on groceries for the week - under budget enough to allow us to eat fast food after church this morning. And using cash meant I was much more aware of the deals I picked up and what I actually needed. I left behind a number of "good" sales that I may have otherwise picked up. But it felt good to spend less and still get a large number of items that I needed and have food at home to make dinners this week.

If you have the time I highly recommend using as many resources as you can to get the best deals. Southern Savers includes a link to Mission tortillas that make the tortillas just $0.40 for a package!

If there are other sites that you love for coupon match-ups please pass them on. I plan to combine SS and GG all month and see what the pros and cons are at the end of the month.

This month check out the Grocery Game and Southern Savers for HT deals!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Southern Savers

I was introduced to this site by a fellow mother of triplets. She says that she loves it and it saves her a lot of money on groceries. I will be using it all month and comparing it to the Grocery Game to see what the pros and cons are of both.

I will say that there is a great deal listed on her site that I did not find at the Grocery Game. Harris Teeter has a Proctor & Gamble promotion going that if you buy $25 worth of their products you will receive a $10 Visa gift card in the mail! Everything should print at the register - all you have to do is fill it out and mail it in. I went the other night purchased diapers and toilet paper and reached my $25 - I'll be mailing my coupon in on Monday.

Free money thanks to Southern Savers.

Be sure to check her site out - she has tons of other stores listed included CVS and Walgreens and grocery stores in the lower states like Publix. Great to know when I go to my moms!

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 New Year's Resolutions

So, I guess I have to make them :) After all this blog came out of my resolutions for 2009 so at least I got something done!

My new, more detailed, resolutions for 2010 are:

1. Spend $100 or less in groceries each week - same as last year except I'm going to add that I will draw the money out in cash and only use that amount - I will also keep track of each and every purchase not just the big shopping trip to Harris Teeter. No, I won't bore you with each and every detail but I will record it on my computer in Excel so I can see how accurate I am each week. Plus, it should keep me from going over and so help me I really don't want to go over!!

2. Pay down debt and keep from accruing any new debt! Which means NO credit cards and better planning which leads to #3...

3. Budget, budget, budget. For everything. Including what hasn't happened yet AND Christmas to avoid any end-of-the-year crises :) Which also means keeping track of every single dollar spent. I do this already sort of but clearly I need to do it better.

4. Make a price point book. In an effort to stretch my dollar even further I plan to do a little more price comparisons each week at different stores and see who has the best deal. I will still use the Grocery Game because it is by far the easiest thing to use but I will be comparing it to other grocery helps and checking out other stores.

5. Get rid of stuff. I have an idea that there's a good $2500 of stuff in my house that I don't need and I'd like to get rid of it! Turn my unused stuff into a few extra dollars to pay down debt and supplement our income.

6. Organize! It seems a more organized life will help my mental state and help my financial state :) #5 will help with this for sure.

7. Make extra money. Besides #5 I haven't decided how yet but somehow :) I'll figure it out.

8. Still buying good kids clothes. Can't give it up - not gonna happen but this may be the year the triplet stop dressing alike! Mostly because it seems silly to spend too much money on summer clothes they'll just play in the dirt in. Maybe a few matching church dresses though - it's too darn cute...

I guess that's it. Seems like a lot for a brand new year but hey, it's also a brand new decade so a few extra resolutions are in order right? If I think of more I'll add them as the months go by but that will do for now. Besides, it's late and by my watch it's actually January 2nd.

So, get out there and have a great new year - live a lot with or without money but be sure to make every dollar count.